“Oh My God, you are never going to make any money doing that!”
Last week, someone I respected blurted out these words as I was explaining my business plan to him.
This person explained further, “I’ve tried what you’re attempting, and it simply won’t work.”
Now as resilient as I’ve progressed to become, anytime someone thunderstorms on my parade, it gives me pause.
I’ve chosen to ignore his statement. However, you still see me writing about this. I share this story to share my response.
The world is full of naysayers and those who think they have it all figured out. These are the people who are the armchair quarterbacks. These are the people who can tell you immediately everything you are doing wrong, and they are the ones who “know” exactly what you should be doing now.
I’m choosing to become excited now when someone tells me I’m destined for failure. It means I’m pushing my boundaries. It means I have just found someone who is not my people. I don’t have time to surround myself with people that would tell me I’m going to be a failure.
As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m losing my marbles. Currently, I have 1,799 weeks left in my life. I don’t have time to waste my time or energies with people who are eager to tell me I’m going to fail.
Which brings me to another thought. When did it become wrong to fail? Why does the average American psyche run away from failure?
I recently read the article, This is the Reason Most People Get Stuck in Mediocrity by Larae Quy.
The very first sentence of the article sums it up.
“The reason most people get stuck in mediocrity is because they refuse to fail.”
I could easily end the article with that statement, but I would like to share some stories that I reflect on when I’m progressing through a challenge.
Earlier this year, I heard something very profound that I’ve chosen as a new philosophy.
“There is no failure. There is only feedback.”
This change in perspective has been monumental for me. I’m not sure exactly where I got the right to assume I am perfect. In my past, I lived with a flawed viewpoint that I must be perfect. This is a debilitating belief that I’ve worked hard to recognize and rid myself of.
Here is what happened to me in my past when I assumed I had to be perfect.
- I limited myself.
- I procrastinated because I had to know everything before I got started.
- I lost opportunities.
- I beat myself up when I “failed” because I didn’t do it “right.”
- I let the fear of failure keep me from starting.
- I sheltered myself from growth.
All these things happened because of a faulty belief system I once held on to for dear life. I feared chaos, so I sought to control everything in my life.
Wow, what an ignorant and self-involved path that I chose to tread.
I’ve evolved. I’ve become a different person. I now push myself to get out of my comfort zone. When I hear the old procreating Damon whispering clouds of doubt into my ear, I re-frame the situation to a testing ground.
What I’ve noticed now is the testing ground is now fun. My whole life and business is now an experiment. I get to try new things now to discover a new result. Everything is an adventure now, and I get to unfold surprises every single day.
This new perspective breathes fresh air and life into my soul.
It reminds me of the often quoted phrase by Thomas Edison.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
That is a man who recognizes that he can’t fail.
What would the world look like now if Thomas Edison had decided to stop his experiments on his 9,999th try? We would all literally be in the dark smelling the fumes of kerosene or whale blubber each evening.
Here are some stories that move me back to my new philosophy of No Failure Only Feedback.
You Have to Put your Butt on the Line
There probably is no person more inspiring than Sara Blakely. She founded a multi-billion dollar company by taking an executive to the women’s restroom to show the difference her undergarment made. Sara slipped into a bathroom to show the before and after results of her undergarment. Sara literally used her behind to sell her product.
When Sara was a teenager, she ate dinner with her family. During dinner, her father would ask a simple question.
“What did you fail at today?”
If someone responded that they didn’t fail, then he would become upset.
“If you didn’t fail today, you didn’t try today” was his response.
What a valuable lesson to burn inside the brain of a child. Go out and fail.
Go Out On a Limb
I had a sales job once, and I was lamenting my lack of results. I was scared to talk to new people. It was difficult for me. I was introverted back then. Every time I talked to someone new, that person would flat out reject me. Rejection hurts. Rejection is painful. Rejections sucks. Only if you let it.
My mother wrote me a letter. She drew a picture of a tree limb. At the end of the branch was an apple.
On top of the tree limb was a squirrel steadily moving towards the apple.
Underneath the picture were these words.
“You have to go out on a limb in order to reach the fruit.”
Hitting the Wall
I’ve run seven marathons. The beginning is loads of fun. There is lots of exciting music blasting from loudspeakers. I get to meet new people, and we get to commiserate about our training plans, previous marathons we’ve run and our plan for this race.
Around mile 17, the same thing unfolds for me. I hit what we runners call “The Wall.” This is the point when most of the energy that was stored up in the muscles is depleted. One step in front of the other for hours. I’m tired.
I then start to cry. It’s too difficult. I don’t want to run any more. I’m ready to go home.
At this point, I typically start to walk. And I walk. And I walk. Every step gets me closer to the finish line.
Then I get to the finish line, and it’s all over. I’ve finished the marathon.
The first person that crosses the finish line and the last person that crosses the finish line have something in common. They both traveled 26.2 miles by foot that day. They are both marathoners.
I think the biggest reason I’m writing this article is because this last week has been challenging for me.
In the process of building Ideal Money Life™ Inc, I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into my writing. This has required me to stretch myself and to be open to feedback.
Yesterday was a difficult day for me. I felt very vulnerable, as I was talking with my business coach. I explained to her that I have some angst about the direction I’m going in.
I worked through my action plan. We had 15 minutes left to talk during our session. I relayed that I was feeling angst about my direction. Walking through my action plan was helpful; however, I still was nervous.
That’s when she uttered these words.
You just have to push through the pain. When you’re doing something new, the exciting part is the beginning. Everything is new. You’re learning. You make a lot of progress quickly. Then you get to the point when you are 80% done, and the fun wanes. Everything gets difficult. That’s when most people quit.